What is your teaching goal?

Depending on the sort of dance teaching you are involved with do you set an overall goal for each class or group of classes that you teach? What I mean is do you have an overall focus of learning and development beyond the specific content for one class?

Ballerinas' Legs in a RowAn example of this could be in say a ballet class where you are teaching some dance technique aspects of the syllabus. The focus of the session is to develop the technique but what about a more general or overall focus that you can transport from one session to another? What about the bigger picture? An overall focus might be to add to each student’s understanding of safe dance practice (SDP). When you reflect on the class you would be able to identify not only how you introduced the technique but also how the class helped to develop the student’s understanding of safe dance practice. You can use this overall focus for a number of weeks, terms or determined length.

In an older adult class you might have set dance pieces that you want to teach or review and in addition to these you may also have an overall focus of encouraging participants to interact with each other. So in this situation the dance class has dance content goals but there is also an overall focus of increasing socialisation within the class. Over several classes there may be different dance content goals but the overall goal for the classes might be to promote wellbeing through increasing socialisation.

ShouldersIn a Highland class you may be working on say, the sword dance but an overall goal for the class might be to improve the use of the shoulder joint for improved carriage of the arms and upper body throughout all the Highland dances. And you bring this focus into whatever aspect of the sword dance that you are teaching. Or it may be that you want an overall focus of improving breathing and stamina. Again something that can be a focus in your Highland classes no matter what dance or steps you are teaching at individual classes.

A beginner ballroom class may being introduced to basics from the various dances but could an overall goal perhaps be for the dancers to become comfortable dancing as a couple no matter which dance they are dancing?

I am sure you get the picture whichever dance genres you teach. What are your overall goals for the learning and development of your dancers/students in addition to specific dance goals at each class or session?

 

 

Dancing in my head again

jazz silhouette

Dancing in my head was the topic of a post I wrote back in 2012 and I thought it is time to say something more about this exciting topic.

What I refer to as, dancing in my head, is often called mental practise or mental rehearsal. In dance this mental practise involves imagining that one is in the dance environment performing the desired dance task or tasks. One aspect that I find works really well for me when dancing in my head, is rhythm. Going through the step or movement in rhythm in my head helps me to get the right feel of the dance, step or movement. Feeling the rhythm in my head is the same as feeling it in my feet or body when I dance it or teach it.

Mental rehearsal is a good way to get steps, movements or a dance clear in your head before you physically perform them.. Take Highland dancing for example, dancing a new step or a new link from one movement to another, in your head reduces the amount of energy needed and hopping that needs to be done. In fact, Highland is a dance genre where teaching your students about mental rehearsal or dancing in their head can really benefit their performance. Competitive Highland dancers and other competitive dancers of course, can gain from ‘dancing in their head’ as part of their training regime for competitions.

I like to explore using a variety of ways to achieve the end goal and mental rehearsal is one that you might find helps your dancers to focus on how to practise and get the most from that practise.

Whatever dance genre/s you teach why not consider encouraging ‘dancing in your head’ for your students and see what they make of doing regular, mental practise?

Remember to read my previous post on this topic for more information.

 

 

Reflecting on previous posts

Sea & sky

 

 

 

I was reminded this week that it is useful to highlight previous posts because they will be new to some of you. If you have not seen these posts before, I hope you find them useful and maybe even interesting. If you have seen them before I hope you will  have another look and reflect on them again.

 

What teacher does in class

Ethics and dance thesis

Teaching with mirrors in dance class

Highland Dancing competitors – are we expecting too much?

Valuing dancers for what they are and not just for what they can do

When can I start pointe work?

Helping dancers thrive and feel motivated

If you want to start a discussion or interact with fellow dance teachers about one or more of these topics why not leave a comment in the box below.

 

April 2016 Courses

Book your April course/s now

Shoulders

Dates and details for Short Online CPD Courses for Dance Teachers staring in April are:

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Last chance to book for January courses

Seated with mobile phoneJust a quick reminder that tomorrow is your last opportunity to book one of the two, short online CPD courses for dance teachers, starting in January. So you could still book a place on the courses outlined in this previous post.

All good wishes for a wonderful New Year.

 

January and April 2016 course dates

There are two short online CPD courses for dance teachers running in January 2016. Details and booking forms are available below.

Starting: Friday 15 January 2016

Completing: Thursday 4 February 2016

Proprioception balance on one leg

 

 

 

 

Safe Dance Teaching Practice: proprioception – NEW

This is a brand new course looking at proprioception in relation to dance teaching and learning. We will explore this ‘sixth sense’ or ‘awareness of one’s body in space’ and consider ways to develop and enhance this in the dance students you teach. We will also consider teaching techniques for dance students with reduced proprioception such as those with hypermobility syndrome. Planing and delivering a session or class focusing on developing proprioception enables an opportunity to apply this understanding in your dance teaching practice.

As with all of the Short Online CPD Courses for Dance teachers, the weekly email tutorials over the three weeks of the course are an important aspect of this CPD.

For more details about this course download the information sheet below:

Short online CPD – Proprioception

Booking form – Short Online CPD courses 2016

Closing dates for courses

Closing dates for courses have been introduced so please ensure bookings and payment are received by the closing date for the course/s you wish to take.

Please note that the closing date for bookings and payment for the January 2016 courses is: Thursday 31 December 2015

 

Relaxing

Learning and Teaching Dance: tension and rigidity in dance

This is proving to be a popular course with teachers. First we will reflect on how tension and rigidity are often taught or encouraged as a way of achieving control in dance. This might relate to a rigid and tense posture or use of tension and tightness to support the arms or perhaps tensing the feet when dancing. Then we will explore methods and approaches relating to your own dance teaching practices that should help to develop control in your students’ technique and performance without relying on tension and rigidity.

Download the course information sheet for this course:

Learning & Teaching Dance – tension & rigidity in dance

Booking form – Short Online CPD courses 2016

Closing dates for courses

Closing dates for courses have been introduced so please ensure bookings and payment are received by the closing date for the course/s you wish to take.

Please note that the closing date for bookings and payment for the January 2016 courses is: Thursday 31 December 2015

 

 

April Courses

Dates and details for courses staring in April are:

Starting: Friday 22 April 2016

Completing: Thursday 12 May 2016

ethicsdance

 

 

 

 

Dance Teaching Ethics: an introduction

Ethics and dance teaching might seem like a totally new topic for dance teachers but in reality dance teachers have been dealing with ethical dilemmas for a long time. In ethical dance teaching practice we aim to deal with such dilemmas in ways that respect the whole person. We do this through teaching methods and approaches that value dance students and dancers for what they are rather than what they can do. In other words, valuing the person they are and not just their dance abilities. This ethical or person-centred dance teaching practice considers both the physical and psychological aspects of the teaching. Ethical teaching helps student dancers and dancers to reach their fullest potential.

During this course we will explore, discuss and reflect on examples of teaching ethically and how ethical principles can be applied in dance teaching practice. We will also consider the codes, rules or standards that dance teachers often sign up to and how they work or not in practice.

For more details about this course download the information sheet below:

Short CPD- Dance teaching ethics – an introduction

Booking form – Short Online CPD courses 2016

Closing dates for courses

Closing dates for courses have been introduced so please ensure bookings and payment are received by the closing date for the course/s you wish to take.

Please note that the closing date for bookings and payment for the April 2016 courses is: Wednesday 6 April 2016

 

Front of shoulder anatomy model

Aspects of Anatomy: exploring basic shoulder anatomy and function in dance

In dance we tend to talk about placing and moving the arms and not focusing on the shoulder joint where the movement occurs. So, in this course, we will explore the basic anatomy of this vital joint and then focus on how it functions in dance. You will consider ways of incorporating teaching methods that aim to improve shoulder alignment and movement into your own teaching practice.

For more details about this course download the information sheet below:

Short CPD- Aspects of Anatomy- shoulder

Booking form – Short Online CPD courses 2016

Closing dates for courses

Closing dates for courses have been introduced so please ensure bookings and payment are received by the closing date for the course/s you wish to take.

Please note that the closing date for bookings and payment for the April 2016 courses is: Wednesday 6 April 2016

I hope to have an opportunity to work with you on one or more of the courses outlined above.

 

What teacher does in class

logo

When planning a dance class you might identify the following:

  • the teaching material or content that you plan to teach
  • the teaching material or content that you plan to teach
  • key teaching points to address
  • delivery of teaching content
  • student activity in the class – what they will do as they learn and progress
  • learning outcomes
  • time allowance for each part of the class

All of these are important aspects of planning and delivering a class but I want to ask you to consider something else that is often overlooked – what the dance teacher does in class. I find considering and identifying what we do as teachers in the dance class is often a revealing and extremely valuable exercise to go through as we see below.

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Dance teacher courses start 12 June 2015

New pathAre you a dance teacher thinking about taking one or both of the short online CPD for dance teachers courses starting on Friday 12 June? If you are wondering if the courses would suit you then here is some information about the courses that might help you to decide.

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Details for Short online CPD courses

CPD for Dance TeachersDo you need to achieve a certain amount of CPD each year? These short online courses could be just what you need. They might contribute to your annual CPD requirements by qualifying as external CPD points or credits with your dance teacher organisation or body. Why not download the course information sheets and give them to the body that monitors your CPD requesting that the course/s be counted towards your CPD total for the year? Your CPD monitoring body can contact me if after reading the information sheets they have further questions about the courses.

Continue reading

NEW – CPD online short courses

studentAre you a busy dance teacher? Do you find it difficult to find the time to attend or do CPD courses? If you do then my new online, CPD for Dance Teachers short courses, coming soon, could be just what you are looking for. These flexible online courses could give you the opportunity to enhance your skills while fitting your CPD around your busy schedule.

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Warmest wishes for the festive season

Relaxation

Have you got some rest and relaxation planned for the holidays or a busy time with family and friends? Whatever you are doing over the festive season I hope you manage to find some time to recharge your batteries ready for the new year.

Dance teachers often manage to fit in some CPD reading or updating of understanding during holiday seasons. Do you have some reading or CPD planned? Reflective practice is something that you might be giving some attention to when you are away from your usual day-to-day teaching practice. Reflection with a purpose is a great way to reflect back and consider what worked well in your teaching this year and how you plan to build on this in the coming year.

I am aiming to get some writing done that I have had on my desk for far too long. There are also a couple of books that I want to dip into some more before sharing some thoughts about them here on the blog.

Whatever you have planned for Christmas and the New Year enjoy, enjoy, enjoy.

Warmest wishes for a healthy and prosperous 2014.

Ethics and dance thesis

Ethical Issues in the Training and Development of Dance Teachers in the Private Sector

Title page

My PhD thesis is now available to download for free from my ethicsdance website. I hope you will download it and read the bits that interest you.

The following two chapters should be interesting for anyone teaching dance even if you are not interested in the chapters about the data collection, analysis and presentation.

A history of private sector dance teaching is explored including contrasting reflections on pedagogy with the development of dance teaching in the public sector. Traditional dance teaching practice, surveillance and docile bodies, current dance teaching practices and dance pedagogy are in chapter two.

Chapter six introduces ethical codes or codes of practice and considers the purpose and virtues of them.

For codes to be of use to us, we need to take them seriously and internalise them so that we all benefit from them. We need to take them into our hearts, embrace them and embody them within our practices so that they become as much a part of our teaching as, say, our knowledge of the dance content and technique.

Sho Botham 2012

I hope you enjoy this thesis and the topics it explores.